Tag Archives: Feminism

My privilege is showing.

What I am about to write is important to me, and I think it’s very important to my blog for me to take note of my biases, my privileges, my experiences. I live with scientists, and have been posing the question to them recently: does your personal experience, your bias, your privileges, your experience, do these things factor into how you interpret or accept new data?” This is important to the field of science. And, turning it inwards, I note: this is important to life.

My background is not very interesting, nor is it very significant. I am a white female, born into an almost-middle-class, Southern Baptist family. The first year that my class was administered governmental standardized end-of-year tests (first grade, I believe?) I was the only student to score in the 99-percentile range (all of my scores were in the 99-percentile range). From this point on, I was treated as an intelligent child, which cushioned me from many of the hardships that children face from struggling with academics and being chastised for it. I was never treated as less capable (especially in math) because of my sex-chromosomes, though I did witness this happening often to other cis-females in the class. In fact, I was often asked to give private, after class tutoring to other girls who were struggling in math (never the boys, however). While I lived in very close proximity to a low-income city until I left for college, I actually lived in a city which is considered to be much safer, more quiet, more calm than its adjacent, surrounding neighbors. The most opposition I ever faced was some light bullying from older girls in Elementary School (stopped when my sister bravely stood up to them for me) and then again when I was teased for dressing like a boy in Junior High (from the same girl from before, again stopped when I mentioned that my same sister was currently serving time in a juvenile corrections facility. Apparently this implied threat of her eventual presence was more than enough). My own mind is what gave me more opposition in my life than any other person.

While I have faced incidences of relative injustice in my life (all very light, all very small) I have to admit that I have been very, well, privileged. I was born without fear of racism or racial discrimination, I was born without and have never experienced physical handicap, I was insulated from much gender discrimination by virtue of being considered “smart” (something with implications that is infuriating, of course), I was born outside of and have never lived in poverty, and my relative heterosexuality (I’m very queer and much more than incidentally attracted to women, though most people don’t know this because I have never acted on it) has insulated me from personally experiencing homophobia. Honestly, the only aspect of myself that puts me into a minority of any kind is the fact that I am an atheist, and it’s not like puts me at any threat of bodily harm, generally. Also, while I have faced some instances of being discriminated against due to mental-health-related issues, this has had very little effect on me.

I don’t even need to say that my life has been easy, relatively- it has been easy, and that’s that. Obviously I have faced difficulties in my life, but any sort of discrimination is not something that I come face-to-face with on a daily basis.

The fights and battles that I am interested in fighting are, largely, not my own. I fight for reproductive rights, because I believe that, without adequate reproductive rights, the people who are hurt the most are people who are of color, live in poverty, and have fully-functioning vaginae and uteri. I fight for queer rights, because there is no reason to discriminate against somebody based on their sexual/gender identity, their sexuality, or anything else that makes them supposedly “other.” I fight for people of color, not because they need a white person on their side, but because the inequalities have not been erased, because we still live in a society and a judiciary system that still perpetuates the problems and the stereotypes that give people of color more to fight against. I fight for disability rights and against ableism, because everybody should have equality of opportunity, and because the need is still there. I fight against poverty, nationally and globally, because it is a travesty on the part of the human race, and because it is connected to everything. I fight for education, because I think that it is the key to change and to progress.

I fight because I care. I fight because I am a humanist. I fight because it’s moral and ethical and true to my values.

But I have to understand- though I am willing to fight, I first have to listen.

So I invite people to share their stories. Their own experiences, the prejudice they have faced, their own privileges. I meant it when I said that education is the key to change and to progress, and it starts here.

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Internet: conquered.

Well, I have finally made it, in terms of internet bloggers. Curiously, I did not feel that I had “made it” when I hit my official decade mark of blogging, nor did I feel it when I was interviewed for a book because of my blog.

I feel it now because I was finally name-called on the internet. Apparently, I am “Bitchy, Entitled Feminist.” The best part of this is that, for some reason, I got referenced in a post that also mentions Rebecca Watson, Richard Dawkins, and Greg Laden, who, I’m sure you can agree, are great company. Still seriously trying to figure this one out, unless this person searched WordPress tags right after I posted about Nice Guys and, vaguely, about Elevator Guy (that post only has nine unique views, anyway). I thought for a moment about commenting on his blog, but after perusing it I realized that there would be no point; he is a person who argues for “men’s rights,” and so I am pretty much writing him off as a lost cause.

To be clear: I write this blog primarily for myself, but also with hope that the persons around me might find it interesting and that it might lead to good discussions. I also am bitchy, I’m entitled (in the sense that I am “entitled” to an opinion, and also that I have entitled myself to the title of “blogger”) and I sure as hell am a feminist. In the blog post, I was also put under the umbrella term of “oppressed feminist bitches.” This adds in two new words to my title, “oppressed” and “bitch.” I won’t say more than: if somebody is oppressed, they certainly have reason to be a bitch, no matter what gender, cis- or trans-, genderqueer, othergendered, etc.

The truth of the world, in general, is this: in general, men have more privilege than women. Similarly, white people have more privilege than people of other racial or ethnic backgrounds. Other groups with more privilege than their counterparts (this list is not exhaustive, and, while in general it is universally true, this list also has a western societal bias): rich vs. poor, heterosexual vs. any other sexuality, able-bodied vs. handicapped, religious vs. non-religious, etc. If an able-bodied person argued, “I can’t believe our tax dollars go to paying for handicap accessible shit, we shouldn’t have to change our world for them,” then you would probably think that they were missing the point, or even that they’re at least slightly leaning towards the side of “douche.” Handicapped people of all sorts face difficulties every day, and yes, we should change the world for “them” because they have a right to the same chances at life and enjoying it as every other person. There is a need for change in general because, historically, much of our and other societies have treated handicapped persons as “less than,” or “lost causes,” for reasons fueled by religion or ignorance.

Similarly, though not in any way identically, women have faced difficulties historically for religious and ignorance issues, as well as plenty of other issues and motivations. Yes, we have come a very long way even in just the past decade. But that doesn’t mean that we should stop fighting for equality. Also, when I say “equality,” I do not mean “women deserve more than men,” because this goes against the definition of “equality” as well as displays a gross lack of understanding that gender is not binary. My feminism says “no matter what gender or sex, no person should have to be discriminated against, put down in any way, hurt or endure prejudice simply based on their gender or sex.” My feminism says, “fuck the patriarchy,” because it hurts everybody, including men. Women are treated as “less than,” men are treated as having to be hyper-masculine and bullied if they display feminine attributes, and anybody who doesn’t fit into this idea of binary genders is treated as a freak. Feminist issues are men’s issues, and they certainly do have to deal with “men’s rights.” Men’s rights are equal to all other genders’ rights.

I don’t have a lot of hope for the person who wrote that blog post, but I do have hope that at least one person will see what I have said (which is in no way unique or different from what other feminists are saying or have been saying for a very long time) and be exposed to the idea that feminism is not a dirty word, and that it is probably what they have been thinking about for a long time.

Topic du jour, July: Shaving

A few months ago, after I deleted my Facebook, I made a Tumblr in order to fill the void in my soul. Over time, the most influential blog that I followed became Sex is Beautiful. As ridiculous as this sounds, the first time I went on this blog I ended up crying after seeing a body like mine portrayed beautifully and positively. This blog also helped me attain the courage to get my first tattoo (that story will come later).

Also, the owner of this blog is a woman who doesn’t shave, wax, or otherwise get rid of her body hair.

A few weeks ago, I noticed red lumps in my armpit. After freaking out about cancer, my doctor diagnosed them as lymph node infections and blamed my shaving habits, which he said were too frequent.

I used to shave off every hair on my body (though not my head) and didn’t stop this practice until a friend of mine complained about my arm stubble if I didn’t shave my arms. Until a few weeks ago, I kept my armpits and legs bare, and frequently explored fun shapes for my pubic hair.

Then, after the lymph node infection, I decided to start shaving altogether. It has been a few weeks, and so far I can report shorter showers, more comfort on my part, and one disgruntled boyfriend.

(Though, to compromise, I told him that I will keep my pubic hair more groomed, as it is the area of my body with natural hair growth that he is intimate enough with to have an actual say in its general appearance.)

The point is: expect posts about hair removal throughout July, because I find it fascinating.

Why I Am Going to Hell: All that jizz

Peep show window displaying pornographic enter...
Hay gurl haaaay

I’m clearly not stopping that whole “bad pun” titles thing. But if I did, would it truly be me?

(Other potential title: “The other burning bush.”)

It seems like the topic of porn (and delicious, wonderful sex, in a kind-of-related way) has come up a lot in my life lately. A lot of people like to ask me what my opinions of pornography are, probably because I am a woman, and I am a feminist, and I am vaguely interesting to speak to (or something like that). I have some feminist friends (including males, who people forget can be feminists, too) who are staunchly against pornography, feeling that it is deeply against every feminist ideal. I also have many friends, feminist and non-feminist alike, who are not anti-pornography in any way. In fact, my sister and her fiancé met at work- in an “adult bookstore.” In fact, I spent some of the best days while I was eighteen in that bookstore, testing out products and learning about the industry.

Similarly, I do know more than one person who I am close to who has become addicted to pornography. I also know plenty of people who are casual (healthy?) watchers of pornography, and I, of course, know many people who have said that they either have never watched any pornography or have no desire to watch it any more.

Of course, none of this says anything about myself.

(There is TMI information from this moment on, just in case anybody who is my friend in real life or otherwise is incredibly uninterested in learning about my relationship with porn- my intimate relationship, that is.)

Anybody still reading?

Pervert.

Just kidding.

Anyway. As for myself, I think that I would fall into the average category of pornography watchers. That is to say that I am a porn consumer perhaps once a week. Interestingly enough, when I do watch pornography, I generally prefer to watch either the lesbian or gay kind (I told you all that I love the gays!). Additionally, I do enjoy to read erotica, if the mood strikes me, but reading erotica is almost never accompanied by masturbation.

(Anybody skipping that section of intimate details can go ahead and continue reading right about here.)

The one thing that I will say about pornography, my single caveat if you will, is that I feel there should be more regulations in the industry in terms of making every male performer wear a condom.

Anyway.

Clearly, any person who reads, watches, listens to, or otherwise voyeurs upon any kind of fictional erotic scene is a sinner, in the eyes of an Abrahamic tradition‘s text. (Hilarious to me, as Song of Songs/Soloman always came off to me as porn for Jewish people/Christians.) But that’s the thing- I’ve never heard of anybody who has a problem with pornography who isn’t religious or spiritual in some way or another, leading me to think that the only people who find guilt in porn are those who feel, in their body, that is it a “sin.” (That isn’t to say that there aren’t non-religious people who have problems with pornography. If you are such a person, please leave a comment and explain your point of view, because it would be so amazing to hear it.) Personally, when I was still religious, I felt a great deal of guilt when I would read/watch anything pornographic, and so I can understand this viewpoint. I remember once we were supposed to write down our biggest sin, and I wrote down that I read erotica. Only now can I see that exploring these things is an important part of adolescence and, I would even say, a good way to help people learn more about themselves.

Is pornography especially realistic? Not usually. (On a side-note, I would like to say that, in my personal opinion, the average porn user tends to not only watch the pornography that includes positions/acts they would like to try out one day, but that they also watch genres that they would never reenact in real life. For example, I would probably never have sex with a girl, but I have no problem watching two girls have sex.)

Can it demean women? Certainly it can, in the hands of the wrong producer or performer.

But is it fun? Well, isn’t that what it’s supposed to be?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an Incognito Window to open. Winky face.

Royally Pissed

 Well, finally! A place where little girls’ dreams and ambitions go to die.

Okay, that’s probably a bit harsh. I can understand that this ministry is seeking to help children by telling them early on that they should be focused on God, and that their identity is in God.

But in my own personal opinion, not only does this perpetuate and indoctrinate young girls into the idea that their whole life is dependent on God, but it also uses feminine stereotypes to do it. The entire message is built around the fact that a young girl said that she wanted to be a princess, and instead of her mother encouraging her to pursue dreams of fulfillment and success through college and a career, the mother says “you’re right, I’ll teach you how to be a princess… of God.”

Perhaps I wouldn’t be feeling such feminist indignation if the program weren’t counterbalanced by “Warrior Prince Academy,” a masculine program that shows little boys to be warriors for God. The girls get to be princesses, and the boys get to be warriors.

I would love to see a freethinking version of these camps, where children are exposed to different ideas and asked their opinions of it instead of being told what to do and think. But maybe I’m just a radical.